It's summertime and I'm only working 1 job! Yay! Time to do some writing again. Time to update my website. Time to remind readers that I'm still producing stories they will want to read! Time for another Round Robin.
This month's topic: How do you go about developing your characters for a story? How much time do you spend or does it just happen in the writing process? What inspires it?
I don't remember a time when there weren't characters talking in my head. As a child, I assumed everyone walked around with voices and visions of entire stories, with characters, conflicts, and resolutions, amusing them in their unoccupied moments. So when I started to write my stories down, it was a natural extension that I'd start imagining actual conversations, facial expressions, even clothing, when I was otherwise not busy.
Accordingly, when I have the bare bones of a story line in my head, I spend a lot of time thinking about those characters. When I'm in the shower, I'm imagining entire scenes being played out. When I'm falling asleep at night, on those rare occasions when I don't collapse from exhaustion, I ruminate on how voices would sound, or how my people would react to certain stimulus...or stimulation, if you will, since all of my stories are erotic in nature.
I love to drive long distances, and since my truck is the only vehicle in our family that has a tow bar for our pop-up camper, I do all of the driving when we're on vacation, or just going camping for a weekend. Those are perfect opportunities for me to allow ideas to flow over me, while the husband snores gently in the passenger seat. I also do Jazzercise whenever I get the chance, and while I'm dancing around, or lifting weights, I sometimes wonder if that is a song a particular character might like, which sends my imagination into overdrive when I get home.
Sometimes the characters take me over and force me to write them their way. For instance, I have a book that is in the process of being edited once again, for a re-issuing by a different publisher. It's called Undercover Lovers, and it's the second in my series about female spies. It has a retired female agent who thought she'd done enough for the free world when she was tortured and almost killed by a serial killer of female agents. She just wants to be left alone. But the creep manages to break out of the maximum security prison he's in, and her former handler pays her a visit, accompanied by two sexy male agents who will guard her night and day.
I had most of the story already worked out in my head when a sister author mentioned that if there are two men involved, she couldn't wait to read the menáge á trois scene with all three of them enjoying themselves. I tried. Believe me, I tried. I spent hours thinking of ways that could be arranged. But it always came down to the fact that the man she wanted to marry, would not allow for it to happen. In his mind, if she ever had sex with his partner, she'd realize he was the better choice for her, and never want him again. Of course, she'd been involved in threesomes in the past, and figured it was no big deal. But she knew how he felt. She loved and respected him enough to know that was a game-changer for him. So what to do? In this instance, the characters themselves dictated how that had to be done. And yes, there is a menáge scene in the book. But I had to write it the way the characters would allow it to be written.
This scene is early in the book, when she wakes up from a nightmare and seeks solace with iced vodka and a cigarette. But her cell phone rings because one of the agents is in a van in the street, and when she sits on her balcony, there is no heat signature in her condo anymore. They chat for a while.
Ameena got up to stand at the railing, looking over at the street below.
"Are you down there, looking up at me?"
"Uh-huh. I can barely see you in the dark, but I have a telescope trained on your balcony now, so I know you are there."
"Thank-you for yakking with me. I feel more calm and relaxed now. I think I can get back to sleep. I have a really busy day, you know."
"I'll see you in the morning then, so I can wire your balcony, okay?"
"Okay. Good-night Adam. And thanks."
"My pleasure. I hope you don't dream anymore tonight."
But she did. She dreamed that she was in a game show with Malcolm as the host. The audience went wild as she was led onto the stage, and told that she had to choose either door number one, or door number two. One of the doors held the key to her happiness. The audience kept urging her to choose door number one, but she defiantly chose door number two. As the door swung open, she heard a loud buzzing sound. She turned to see where it was coming from, and the door slammed shut.
Ameena opened her eyes to see that it was early morning already, and her alarm was creating the buzzing that had interrupted her dream.
"Crap! Now I'll never know what was behind that door, or what is the key to my lifetime happiness!"
She sighed as she sat up and began to go through the motions of beginning her day--what she anticipated would be a very long, very busy and stressful day.
To read what other writers think about the topic, you can start with the Robin, of Round Robin, and see what she has to say. Find her at: